Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
play, gender, children, identity, culture
In this thesis I explore the relationship between gender and free-play in a small, cooperative preschool in Niskayuna, New York. While psychologists and sociologists have studied gender in young children, I found that children had been largely overlooked in the field of anthropology. While some anthropologists have historically believed that children do not fully understand their culture and cannot be reliable informants, I believe that there is much we can learn by understanding children's games - which often reflect our culture. Through observing children's free play I was able to analyze gender conforming/nonconforming play, aggression, and the themes of the imaginary games children play. I also analyze the importance of choice in children's free play, and the importance of choice as children experiment with and come to understand their gender identity. By understanding the way that children understand the world we can learn a lot about our own culture.
Peterson, Bryn, "Toys Don't Have a Gender: Gender Play and Aggression in a Small Co-operative Play Based Preschool" (2014). Honors Theses. 580.